Air

Tracking the latest agency and congressional debates over rules to cut emissions of traditional pollutants, and a broad range of novel EPA policies including the agency's shift to a "multipollutant" regulatory approach for individual sectors.

Topic Subtitle
Tracking the latest agency and congressional debates over rules to cut emissions of traditional pollutants, and a broad range of novel EPA policies including the agency's shift to a "multipollutant" regulatory approach for individual sectors.

UAW WON'T SUPPORT BUSH, DESPITE KERRY PLAN TO HIKE CAFE STANDARDS

The United Autoworkers Union (UAW) will not support the re-election of President Bush in part because of the loss of autoworker jobs under his administration, a United Autoworkers union lobbyist says. The union instead is supporting presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, despite the Massachusetts senator's uncertain views on raising mandatory fuel economy standards. UAW has historically opposed any mandatory rise in corporate average fuel economy (CAFE), but does not seem to be concerned that Kerry campaign literature supports almost...

COURT RULING MAY ELEVATE SNOWMOBILE ISSUE FOR NEXT WHITE HOUSE

A recent federal court ruling questioning EPA regulations for snowmobile engines may give environmental groups a new opportunity to push for stronger standards, though some environmentalists say a major change could depend on the presidential election. At the same time, however, the June 1 ruling dealt a major blow to environmentalists' push to require emissions catalyst technology for the engines, rebuffing a claim that EPA improperly failed to require the technology. The ruling also vacated an emissions standard EPA set...

EPA TO UNVEIL SCIENTIFIC REVIEW THAT MAY PROMPT TOUGHER AIR PARTICLE CONTROLS

An EPA scientific panel is expected within the next few days to release the latest version of its scientific document on the health effects of pollution from fine particles (PM2.5), which could lead to recommendations for stricter limits on the air pollutant. An agency source says EPA will soon unveil revised chapters of its "criteria document" for the pollutant, which aims to summarize relevant scientific findings. The agency's Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee's particulate matter review panel will consider the...

EPA TO INCLUDE CLIMATE CHANGE IN NEXT STATE-OF-ENVIRONMENT REPORT

EPA is planning to address global climate change in its next report on the state of the environment, a key agency official says, after removing a section on the topic from the inaugural version of the document. EPA's top science official, Paul Gilman, told reporters June 2 that the agency had omitted climate change from its report last year because it did not have time to review relevant comments from the White House and other parties. But, "This time we'll...

DEMOCRATS CHARGE ADMINISTRATION PLANS $150 MILLION CUT TO EPA'S FY06 BUDGET

House Democrats are citing a recently issued White House guidance to charge that the Bush administration plans to slash EPA's fiscal year 2006 budget $150 million from spending levels the administration requested for the agency in FY05. The charge comes as EPA officials have begun meeting to develop the agency's proposed FY06 budget request. Agencies generally submit their proposed budgets to the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) shortly after Labor Day. Relevant documents are available on InsideEPA.com...

STUDY ON '03 BLACKOUT MAY PROMPT SCRUTINY OF EPA AIR MODELS

A soon-to-be-published study by the University of Maryland on the short-term air quality benefits resulting from last year's massive blackout along the East Coast may force regulators to reexamine the methods used for predicting emission reductions from environmental regulations. The study found air improvements following the blackout were greater than experts might have expected based upon the current understanding of the relative contribution of power plant emissions to air quality problems. While a source involved with the study says more...

METALS GUIDANCE MAY BOLSTER INDUSTRY PUSH FOR LESS TOXICS REPORTING

EPA officials say an upcoming guidance document on assessing public health risks from metals, including lead, will reiterate preliminary agency findings about scientific data gaps, a conclusion that is likely to bolster long-standing arguments by industry for eased reporting requirements. Sources say EPA's metals guidance will echo several "white papers" commissioned by the agency last year that highlighted problems in current agency methods for measuring "bioaccumulation," or how metals accumulate in the body, in setting appropriate reporting requirements for businesses...

EPA DECISION TO LIMIT TRI DATA REVISIONS SPARKS INDUSTRY CONCERN

EPA's decision to restrict industry's ability to revise data that has been submitted to the agency's Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) has prompted industry claims that EPA will release flawed information that could undermine the reliability and credibility of the program. The agency's decision is laid out in a May 19 letter to industry groups that report to the TRI, in which EPA information chief Kim Nelson describes efforts to streamline the program. Those measures include increased use of Internet reporting...

INDUSTRY ATTACK ON STATE AIR RULE TESTS REACH OF OMB PEER REVIEW GUIDE

Industry has launched a groundbreaking test of whether third parties can successfully request new federal peer reviews under a controversial White House guidance, calling for EPA to initiate review of state ozone pollution control plans that industry believes are based on inaccurate data. In a June 2 letter, the Sherwin-Williams paint company asked EPA and OMB officials to require peer review of a 2001 model rule and related studies developed by the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC) to limit ozone-forming volatile...

BUSH MAKES TWO EPA RECESS APPOINTMENTS IN FACE OF SENATE HOLDS

President Bush installed two EPA political appointees during last month's congressional recess, using a constitutional procedure allowing the White House to bypass a pending Senate hold on two of four EPA nominees whose consideration is being blocked. The appointments effectively deflate Sen. Jim Jeffords' (I-VT) leverage in a battle over EPA documents on several controversial proposals, the release of which he tried to force by putting holds on the nominees. And they are raising concerns among EPA staff that Bush...

Researchers Suggest EPA Reconsider Fine Particulate Matter Exposure Levels

Some scientific researchers are raising the idea that EPA may need to revamp the way it addresses fine particulate matter (PM2.5) because new studies are indicating that serious health effects -- even death -- are apparent at the lowest levels that are measurable. However, the notion is controversial because it would likely boost the importance of cost-benefit analyses when the Clean Air Act bars EPA from considering costs in setting ambient air quality standards. The issue was discussed at an...

SBA Pressures EPA For Industry Exemptions In Ozone-Depleting Chemical Phaseout

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is pressing EPA air chief Jeffrey Holmstead to allow significant exemptions for the foam insulation industry in a 2003 phaseout of a key ozone-depleting chemical, a move aimed at protecting small contractors that SBA says are not ready to start using more environmentally-friendly alternatives. While EPA has already signaled its intent to allow some relief through a needs-based application process, SBA is concerned that EPA's plan will prove insufficient because foam companies and contractors that...

Industry Says Delays In Bush Clean Air Act Reforms Would Harm Environment

The American Chemistry Council has joined with a broad coalition of industry groups in intensifying its efforts to defend proposed Bush administration reforms to Clean Air Act permitting requirements, referred to as new source review (NSR) requirements. The coalition is warning House lawmakers in a new letter that any delay in the Bush administration's implementation of the reforms will come at the cost of cleaner air. The Aug. 20 letter , signed by 44 industry trade associations, is the latest...

Mediator In TVA Air Act Case Unable To Stave Off Court Ruling

The chief mediator for the U. S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has abandoned his attempt to craft a settlement in a high-profile lawsuit where the government sued the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for alleged Clean Air Act violations. The collapse of the effort leaves little choice but for the court to issue what could be a landmark ruling on the legitimacy of EPA's enforcement actions against the utility industry for alleged violations of new source review rules...

U.S. Automakers Split With International Counterparts On Global Warming

U.S. automakers are backing away from a report they released along with their Asian and European counterparts which includes a statement that carbon dioxide (CO2) from auto emissions contributes to global warming. Representatives from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) -- which represents the biggest three U.S. automakers -- are now saying that they only support portions of an International Automobile Manufacturers (IAE) report to the United Nations' sustainable development conference, despite being listed as one of its three primary...

EPA, Activists Ink Proposed Pact To Speed Air Toxics Permit Deadlines

EPA and the Sierra Club have reached a proposed legal settlement that will require many industries to submit permit applications to regulators developing air toxics standards one year earlier than EPA had originally intended. The proposed settlement , which requires EPA to propose the deadline changes in an upcoming rulemaking, could also make it easier for activists to obtain information about facilities by requiring plant owners to immediately submit already required air quality plans to EPA in the event of...

Appeals Court Backs Ethanol-Friendly Air Act Interpretation

A recent federal appeals court decision has backed an EPA interpretation of Clean Air Act rules that could provide a long-term benefit to companies seeking to produce ethanol from municipal waste, by lessening the need under some circumstances for facilities to install state-of-the-art pollution control technologies. Legal experts say the ruling provides a precedent affirming regulators' decision not to regulate as a chemical processing plant a proposed experimental waste-to-ethanol facility -- and perhaps other similar facilities in the future. The...

Mexican Truck Suit's Pollution Debate Rattles Trucking Industry

A closely watched air quality lawsuit challenging Mexican-based trucks unfettered access to U.S. highways under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is splitting the trucking industry, with one key organization backing the U.S. government's decision not to study the environmental impacts of the foreign vehicles. The American Trucking Associations (ATA), a national organization that represents trucking companies, is backing the unlimited truck access, while the California Trucking Association, an ATA member, and truck drivers who are members of the...

Administration Unveils Clear Skies Plan, Including Details Of Air Act Changes

The Bush administration's Clear Skies power plant legislation unveiled this week outlines the most detail to date on White House proposals for Clean Air Act changes in exchange for overall emissions caps on the industry -- proposing new criteria to shield the industry from separate legal attacks by downwind states, and significantly narrowing the scope of new source review (NSR) rules for the power sector. The administration's proposal -- which was introduced by Reps. Joe Barton (R-TX), W.J. "Billy" Tauzin...

Federal Officials Eye Changes To Rules On Traffic Congestion, Air Quality Conformity

Federal officials and Senate lawmakers are discussing several possible changes to federal rules for reducing the impact of transportation emissions on air quality -- including possible relief for areas that fail to comply with EPA's yet-to-be-implemented fine particle and ozone standards, along with changes to congestion programs. Discussion of possible changes to the program -- aired at a July 30 hearing by the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee -- comes as Congress gears up for a reauthorization of the...

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